Saturday, July 21, 2012

If you're wondering if it's real


Sometimes you just have to pinch yourself.

Because life can have such unexpected blessings, it doesn’t seem real.

We’re at a conference this weekend, and each speaker has challenged and stirred us.

We had the privilege of once more sharing life with Dr. Bob Tuttle over a meal last night (World Christianity Professor, Asbury Theological Seminary, retired) and also hearing him speak today.

Last night at dinner, Dr. Tuttle had a Bible in front of him and told us that every year he reads through the Bible and at the end of that year, he gives it away.

He’s given away forty replete with his notes.

What a wonderful practice. How many Bibles might we have time to give away while we’re still here on this spinning globe? How many lives might those Bibles touch as they circle this planet?

We also had the amazing privilege of hearing Bishop Ricardo Pereira of Cuba. He’s a man who bears on his body the marks of persecution--and he’s a man full of joy and power and the Spirit of God.

To be in his presence is to recall the incidences in the New Testament like Acts 5:15, “…people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered…bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed.”

Those kinds of things are happening today in Cuba--in the church suffering under oppression. I found myself wanting just to be in the shadow of Bishop Pereira. Such an honor to sit at his feet.

Then the verse in Luke 12:21 came to mind, “…and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

What does the Lord require after days like this one?

Well, this conference certainly hasn’t been about rubbing elbows with the saints of the church only to write about them, though I am writing about them. And this time hasn’t just been about learning more, though I’ve learned much.

The Lord requires a response. I don’t fully know what that might be right now. But almost always, it means surrendering more of ourselves to God. To once more bend the knee and allow God to root out anything that is not of Him--to be filled with His very presence.

I believe both Dr. Tuttle and Bishop Pereira alluded to allowing God to expand our vision for ministry.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us” (Ephesians 3:20 The Message).

God's not pushing us around, but He looks to do something new in our lives and hearts—more than yesterday. And by his Spirit he does, as we yield to him.

Yes, sometimes you just have to pinch yourself in wonder at the awesome people God may bring into your life. Then you have to wonder how through the Spirit’s work within us what else God might do that is more than we could “request in our wildest dreams.”

Webster's assigns these meanings to the word "real": not imaginary, essential, genuine, authentic, not to be taken lightly.

So, if what God's doing right now is so out there, you're wondering if it's real.

Trust me. Everything God does is real.

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